August Visa Bulletin: USCIS Announces Only Final Action Date Can Be Used
The August Visa Bulletin was released last week, and it contained significant retrogressions (EB-2 worldwide). Other categories have been experiencing retrogression as the fiscal year draws to a close. September 30 is the final date of the fiscal year and October 1 is the inaugural day of the new fiscal year. USCIS announced that the final action priority date cannot be used for filing adjustment of status applications. This is instead of the more friendly filing action priority date, which is usually a few months before the final action priority date. This is for employment-based and family-based adjustment of status applications.
Visa Bulletin – June 2016: Severe Retrogression for EB-2 and EB-3 India and China
The June 2016 Visa Bulletin has been released by the Department of State. USCIS has not yet said whether the filing dates can be relied upon for employment-based and family-based adjustment of status. It should announce that within the week.
Some categories of note:
The F-2A category, spouses and children of permanent residents, is about 18 months behind current for all chargeabilities. The filing dates are about 7 months behind.
EB-2 India is at July 1, 2009. EB-3 India is July 1, 2005. Both of those dates are for filing dates. The final action dates for both India and China EB-2 suffered severe retrogression. EB-2 India rolled back all of the way to October 1, 2004. EB-2 China reverted back to January 1, 2010. For India, that represents a setback of nearly 4 years and it is nearly 2 years for China. EB-3 China suffered a setback of over 3 years. The predictions for the remainder of the Fiscal Year (which does not begin anew until October 1) are dire for those two categories, as well. China is not expected to see movement through EB-2 or EB-3 for the remainder of the fiscal year. EB-2 and EB-3 India are expected to progress slowly for the remainder of the fiscal year.
In about two weeks, there will be a check in with the State Department’s Charlie Oppenheimer, where he will make predictions about the Visa Bulletin for July 2016.
April 2016 Visa Bulletin Released
It is that time again: The April 2016 Visa Bulletin has been released by the Department of State. You can find all of the final action dates and filing dates posted for Employment- and Family-Based categories.
The expected jump did not come for EB-2 India category. Charlie Oppenheimer had predicted 3 month leaps, but we will keep our eyes peeled for that leap in May.
There was only slight movement in the Family-Based categories.
The reason that there are limits and cutoff dates is because there is a limited allocation of immigrant visas, prescribed by country, category, and preference. Here is the State Department’s explanation of calculations:
Procedures for determining dates. Consular officers are required to report to the Department of State documentarily qualified applicants for numerically limited visas; USCIS reports applicants for adjustment of status. Allocations in the charts below were made, to the extent possible, in chronological order of reported priority dates, for demand received by March 9th. If not all demand could be satisfied, the category or foreign state in which demand was excessive was deemed oversubscribed. The cut-off date for an oversubscribed category is the priority date of the first applicant who could not be reached within the numerical limits. If it becomes necessary during the monthly allocation process to retrogress a cut-off date, supplemental requests for numbers will be honored only if the priority date falls within the new cut-off date announced in this bulletin. If at any time an annual limit were reached, it would be necessary to immediately make the preference category “unavailable”, and no further requests for numbers would be honored.
Section 201 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) sets an annual minimum family-sponsored preference limit of 226,000. The worldwide level for annual employment-based preference immigrants is at least 140,000. Section 202 prescribes that the per-country limit for preference immigrants is set at 7% of the total annual family-sponsored and employment-based preference limits, i.e., 25,620. The dependent area limit is set at 2%, or 7,320.
Visa Bulletin News: Annual Report and February 2016 Bulletin
The Department of State released the February 2016 Visa Bulletin. It also published the Immigrant Visa Waiting List Report, which is an annual publication of the number of visa applicants on the waiting list in the preferences and subcategories. There is a wait list because of statutory numerical restrictions. For example, 28.7% of immigrant visas may come from Employment-Based 1 (EB-1) preference. EB-2 and EB-3 preferences for the China and India chargeabilities are the perpetually oversubscribed categories. Oversubscribed means that there are more people applying than spots available for immigrant visas.
One encouraging sign is movement in the EB-2 India category. It jumped 6 months from February 1, 2008 for the final action date to August 1, 2008. The visa bulletin continues to employ the filing and final action date system. The filing date for EB-2 India is July 1, 2009.
The data from the Department of State shows that over half of petitions are filed Family-Based 4 (FB-4), which is US citizens filing for their siblings. This category for all chargeabilities has an excruciating long wait period. On the Employment-Based side, there was a major increase in EB-5 petitions filed and considerable increases in the number of EB-1 and EB-2 petitions filed in 2015 as opposed to 2014. The agency’s report also includes a per country list. This is important because there is a per country limitation of no more than 7% of all immigrant visas issued for one country.
January Visa Bulletin Released
The January Visa Bulletin was released yesterday by the State Department. The January bulletin preserves the action date and filing date framework, instructing potential applicants when they are eligible to file for green cards. For example, for the Employment-Based 2 category of India, the filing date is July 1, 2009 and the action date is February 1, 2008. That means someone who has an approved I-140 in that category before July 1, 2009 is eligible to file, but that someone with a priority date before February 1, 2008 is current. This bifurcated system is based off predictions and is intended to assist applicants and be more efficient with immigrant visas.